tv NBC Nightly News NBC July 31, 2011 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT
>> some celebrities participated as well, including olympic gold medalist apolo ohno. >> thanks for watching nbc bay : area news at 5:00. "nightly news". anccxtne1: and we'lle back at 9:00. see you then. what's it going to be after an excruciating weekend in washington? deal or default? what will it be after an skroosh naturing week in washington. and growing outrage in our country is a compromise, actually, starting to happen. >> my take right now is total frustration. >> how it got to this. and special coverage leading up to our unprecedented access on capitol hill. to our unprecedented access on capitol hill. nightly news begins just now. captions paid for by nbc-universal television
it sure looked likea while like congress would do something. hammer out a solution that avoided walking up to the brink of the deadline when the nation is due to default on its financial obligations. as this day wore on, congress started looking a lot more like the congress we have watched every day this past week. tonight, there are hints and whispers and indications, so far nothing more, that something of some sort is coming. something close to an agreement. let's start off with the very latest beginning with nbc's kelly o'donnell who has been camped out on the hill again today. good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. the really promising part of the day has been who is talking to whom. the president and republicans have been in the same conversation. then you've got the top four leaders in congress who have been piecing together what sort of the framework of what we think the ultimate compromise might be. but here the hard part. all of the members who actually get to vote have not been read in on the details and there are some thing that they may not be so happy about. and we've seen how predictable
those votes can be. tonight within minutes of this crush that surrounded the senate's top democrat, harry reid signed off on a deal that came from the white house and republicans. >> both the president and the vice president called me and the president talked to the speaker as well. >> reporter: signs of real cooperation, not just talk. reid told waiting senators, they better stay close. >> i would not suggest a ball game, no. >> reporter: republicans went back to the table, working directly with the president and vice president. >> i think we're very close. >> reporter: the white house senior adviser david plouffe on "meet the press" was optimistic, too. >> i think it is clear there is deficit reduction. >> reporter: raise the debt ceiling by up to $2.8 trillion in two installments. stage one, cut about $1 trillion in spending. launch a new kind of super committee evenly split to find
up to $1.8 trillion by november. stage two, if congress fail to actually make those recommended cuts by the end of the election year, that kicks in automatic spending cuts including medicare and defense. after the maddening display of inaction that lit up the phone on capitol hill all week -- and fired up the public -- >> with the 11th hour now and it is time to get this done for the american people. >> reporter: tourists outside the capitol today want this over. >> it is really a concern. i feel like they're not dealing with the average person. >> it is not red and blue. this is a time for everyone to come together. >> reporter: both sides acknowledge a deal must include ways to compel congress to make future debt reductions. >> there should be a sword of equal sharpness and strength hanging over each party's head. obviously the sword of democrats are the cuts. we don't like them. >> reporter: republicans don't like the threat of deeper defense cuts. hill democratic leaders get the
job of finding enough house and senate democrats to support a white house deal with republicans. and one of the thing that's juchts bubbled up, we're hearing from all over the capitol new concern about the defense cuts that would be in the first year. that hadn't again hot button issue until today. that's the kind of detail that could throw this over the rail or maybe it is something they can sort out. there has been a general sense of thing being much more hopeful today. >> let's hope somebody listens to those folks you interviewed outside who seem to be making a lot of sense. kelly o'donnell starting us off at the hill. on the eend of town, chuck todd for his end of all these talks. what can you tell us from there? >> reporter: well, everybody is waiting for john bainer to sign off on this deal. it goes try it what kelly is reporting hx this issue of how deep would the defense cuts be? not just in the deal itself in the first part but also, in the
size of it. in the so-called trigger. you heard chuck schumer talk about having this sharp edged sword hanging over the head. because you're not going to have taxes hanging over the hefd republicans to compel this super committee to work, the other olution that vice presidentcc1: biden and mitch mcconnell came up with, the threat of pretty cuts.efensecc1: now house republicans are balking and there is a lot of hand wringing over this. there has been an odd soap opera today. the first part of the day everybody thought it was democrats holding up the deal and that was who was waiting. democrats are saying they're there, they're they're. then democrats sinld on. now they're balking. how does this get through house? nobody has a path yet. >> and yet another groundhog day in washington, d.c. for that matter, the rest of the country. house.todd at the white cc1: we'll talk to you later, thanks, chuck. now what about the damage just
cc1:done?ss has whether we have a deal or no deal? the whole world has been watching this. the ratings agencies, the markets and the number do tell part of the story. we are coming off the worst week in a year for the dow jones. with stocks down 4.2%. deal fix acc1:: that? and restore faith? our friend carl quintanilla has come over from cnbc headquarters. what happens? what are you going to be looking for? >> clearly the market would love any kind of compromise. if you get that, look for a very sharp rally. the asian plarkts start trading tonight. that will give us an early indication. the data has not been good. the economy has very little cushion. once these spending cuts are laid out, what will the results be on job? fewer firefighters, less local and state spending. we'll get numbers that won't be good this friday probably. the market might be bracing for more of those.
>> so starting tonight into tomorrow morning. you and your pals at cnbc will be watching as always. let's take a further step now and look at how this looks. you've covered a lot of politics in washington over the years. she is standing by tonight. an dr andrea, you've seen them come and go. this has hardly been a profile in courage. have you ever seen anything like this? >> i never have. we've had political crises, we've had in our lifetime, 9/11, katrina, other national emergencies, tragedies. in one case or another, if one branch fail, the other would step in. in this case all branches of government, our entire government seem to be disfungif know functional. now it is stalemate, grid lock. i've never seen where there has been so little leadership and
people are angry, disgusted, and i think really rebellious out there. people are wanting change and they don't know how to get it. >> a new die animal knick washington, at least in the time that you have been watching thing. some members have come to town and they don't care if they get reelected. that is a whole new dynamic. they are here for a single issue and are willing to go down in flames at the polls if they achieve it or don't. >> among the leaders and among the followers, the rank and file, the caucus. these new member really are willing to tear the place down. and they not only don't care whether they're not reelected, they don't want pork. there are no inducements to get them to follow the speaker or the other leaders them don't want the traditional methods of buying loyalty here and that was a reform that now has changed the dynamic. >> all right, andrea mitchell from our washington newsroom.
i wish there was better news to report to folks, especially about our era in government. we'll have more on this later. of course, tonight is the night we're airing our special hour. a day in the life of the u.s. capitol. this past week for one day, we at nbc news descended on the building. we received extraordinary access to what was going to inside. and believe me, that 19 good, the bad and the ugly. and it all airs tonight here on nbc. we have more this evening on an extraordinary exchange we shared with you here between front line troops in afghanistan and the chairman -- >> here is brian williams. >> we are going to take you now to the briefing room in the west wing of the white house. a big flurry of activity in washington in just the past few
minutes. associated press is reporting and nbc news folks on the ground in washington are confirming. i'll read it to you. a democraticyou. a democratic official is telling the associated press, the white house and republicans in congress have reached a debt deal to prevent the first government default in u.s. history. you see the various network correspondents in front of the podium there. in under two minutes, the door on the left there, actually on the right of your screen in the far corner is going to open and we're going to hear from the president.cc1: to quiet down and bit late in the day. that was our first indication that we actually had something going on. chuck todd is there on the left of your screen in the front row: what do you know from there? >> well, look. this was clearly orchestration. the last part of this is what we tonight.earlycc1: speaker boehner hadn't signed on. i hear the click.
i'm going to sit down. >> have a seat. good evening. there are still some very important votes to be taken by members of congress but i want to announce that the leaders of both parties in both chambers have reached an agreement that will reduce the deficit and avoid default. a default that wofuld have had devastating effect. the first part will cut $1 trillion in spending over the next ten years. cuts that both parties had agreed to early on in this process. the result would be the lowest level of annual domestic spending since dwight eisenhower was president. but at a level that still allows us to make job creating a investments in thing like education and research. we also made sure that these cuts wouldn't happen so abruptly that they would be a drag on a fragile economy. i've said from the beginning,
the ultimate answer must be balance. despite what some republicans have argued, i believe we have to ask the wealthiest american biggest corporations to pay their fair share by giving up tax breaks and special deductions. despite what some in my own i believe we ued,cc1: need to make some modest adjustments to things like medicare to ensure they're still around for future generations. that's why the second part of this agreement is so important. it establish as bipartisan committee of congress to report back by november with a proposal to further reduce the deficit which will then be put before the entire congress for an up or down vote. in this stage, everything will be on the table. to hold us all accountable for making these reforms, tough cuts that both parties would find objectionable would automatically go into effect if we don't act. over the next few months, i'll continue to make a detailed case to these lawmakers about why i believe a balanced approach is
necessary to finish the job. now, is this the deal i would have preferred? no. i believe that we could have made the tough choices required on entitlement reform and tax reform right now. rather than through a special congressional committee process. but this compromise does make a serious down payment on the deficit reduction we need and gives each party a strong incentive to get a balanced plan done before the end of the year. most importantly, it will allow us to avoid default and end the crisis that washington imposed on the rest of america. it ensures also that we will not face the same kind of crisis again in six months or eight months or 12 months. and it will begin to lift the cloud of debt and the cloud of uncertainty that hangs over our economy. this process has been messy. it has taken far too long.
i've been concerned about the impact that it has had on business confidence and consumer confidence, and the economy as a whole over the last month. ultimately, both parties have found their way toward compromise and i want to thank them for that. want1: to thank the american people. it has been your voices, your letter, your e-mails, your tweets, your phone calls that have compelled washington to act in the final days. and the american people's voice is a very, very powerful thing. we're not done yet. i want to urge members of both parties to do the right thing and support this deal with your votes over the next few days. it will allow us to avoid default. it will allow us to pay our bills. it will allow to us start reducing our deficit in a responsible way and it will allow us to turn to the very important business of doing everything we can to create job,
boost wages and grow this economy faster than it is currently growing. american people1: sent us here to do and that's what we should be devoting all of our time to accomplishing in the months ahead. thank you very much, everybody.: >> what about the democrats who are -- >> the president from the white house, a long term deal. many provisions and much to go in the months to come but a very, very important vote. a few minutes ago, the leaders floor.senate were on thecc1: majority leader, minority leader, congratulating each other that this had happened. this will affect the markets in the morning. it may not improve how member of congress are seen across this country and it doesn't get the country a lot of what he wanted. it is quite possible this will be voted through without anyone being truly happy about the outcome. but it appears on a sunday night in the middle of summer after coming very close to the default
deadline of tuesday. there will be a vote in congress tomorrow that will finally signal the end of this drama. very unlikely the speaker of the house, senate majority leader would bring anything to the floor, not having the votes. full coverage tonight on msnbc and your magnitude of the story playing out right now in the greatest human disaster on this planet. >> it's happening in east africa, the horn of africa, where baby and children are starving and a wave of suffering now from somalia to kenya. and as we add to the size of our team of journalists, there nbc's kate snow has made to it kenya. she is on the ground at a u.n.
compound. good evening. >> reporter: good evening to you, brian. we're about 60 miles from the somalia border here. think of this as an oasis. somalis know if they can just get here, they can get food and water and potentially survive. but it is straining the system. as we flew in today, we could see just how fast this tent city is growing. for hundreds of miles, nothing but parched bright orange earth. then we see it. the world's largest refugee outpost. the white tents are the official housing but look at the outer rings of makeshift shelters. signs of desperation. about 1,200 people arrive here every single day. everyone of them with an unreal story. how lima left her deaf husband behind and walk here with five children in tow. only four of them made it. habid arrived friday night. >> translator: we were attacked along the way, she says.
all of our bags taken. we have nothing. we hope we'll get help here. >> this afternoon, at the newest official camp opened last monday, people were settling in. kids playing in the dirt. making water barrels into toys. u.n. agencies are building as fast as they can but they can't keep one the influx. >> not just the numbers but also the conditions in which they arrive. we have never seen so high levels of malnutrition among children arriving. people arrive tired. after walking for three or four weeks in some cases. >> reporter: she and her two little girls left their home in mogadishu a year ago fleeing the violence of a weak temporary government and an islamic insurgent group. when the drought made it even worse, they headed here. it is not perfect but at least her children are fed and safe. >> translator: at the moment, she says, we found peace. >> reporter: in the city she fled, somalia's capital,
mogadishu, government troops have been fighting to open up aid roots. they made a show of thanking troop for gaining some ground but even today, reports that a member of parliament was gunned down. many of the most drought-stricken regions of somalia are still under rebel control. the fear is the aid just isn't getting through. the fear is by the u.n., that the famine in somalia could grow cox spread to other area. it is worth noting that 12 million people across four countries now have been severely affected by this massive drought. >> thank you. kate snow again who has just arrived. er reporting will begin tomorrow morning on "today." we'll have more on "nbc nightly news." for those of you wanting to help the situation in africa, we have a growing list of relief organizations. we're maintaining it on our website. when we come back after a break, fire in the night as a part of our planet puts on a spectacular show.
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we're back and we wanted to update you one last time on the big news of this night. the announcement on the senate floor and then minutes later, by the president in the white house briefing room, that they have a deal. they haven't had a vote yet but they have a deal. kelly o'donnell, chuck todd following this all. what do we know about the calendar, elect legislative calendar and timing here? >> tomorrow both parties will meet with their members late in the morning to lay this out so they can see the details. it is hard to count votes before people have actually seen the specifics. one of the interesting thing is house speaker john boehner friend to republicans as an approach to hold president obama
accountable. that is a way to present it that might be more appealing to his members. it will be described quite differently to democrats. the clock begins for the voting. >> chuck, pick up on kelly's point, what didn't the president get here? >> reporter: what didn't he get? he didn't get the big debate in what he wanted to do on revenues. he wanted to make this a balanced package when he came to taxes. he didn't get that. what he got was a punt. what both parties got was a punt. let's not pretend anybody won a big victory here. they just delayed the big zpit the big debate about entitlements and taxes and that could get taken up in six months. i think it is unlikely. i think it is what our 2012 election will be about. >> in ten seconds, this made it more pal atable for a vote, right? >> it is. they're able to keep their talking points on tax and entitlements going into a campaign year. >> well, there you go. our government at work.
kelly o'donnell, chuck todd, thanks for your steady stalwart work on this still unfolding story. one final remind better what's coming up straight ahead, on wednesday of this past week, nbc news descended on capitol hill. over 100 people on our team. we walked in there with about 30 cameras and we proceeded to shoot everything that moved. and of course, it just so happened we were there this long scheduled arrival for our broadcast original a critical day in this toxic debate we've watched over the debt ceiling fix. and at a time when anger directed at congress is at an all time high. you'll see it all. how congress works, how congress doesn't work. all a part of our internal hour-long broadcast here on this nbc station tonight. given tonight's news, it could not be more timely. for us and for now, that's our broadcast this sunday night. thank you for being here with us. i'm brian williams. lester, of course, will be back here with you next